At the Derbyshire Branch of FACE, four (of five) Ladies that Brunch held their Christmas get-together on 16 December. Instead of their normal practice of exchanging Christmas gifts they have decided to make donations to FACE and a total of £90 was collected. As Derby organiser Helen Steele puts it: "Merry Christmas one and all!" Seen below are four of the Derbyshire fundraisers enjoying coffee after their Christmas brunch:
The key to making Masiphumelele’s creches sustainable is to get them registered with the Department of Social Development so that a government subsidy can be received for each child. To date only six of the 27 creches in the township are registered. We have previously reported on the building and maintenance work that Masicorp is coordinating at crèches such as Masi Educare and Ekhaya Lothando. However, registration is not just a matter of improved infrastructure. The Department of Social Development also require the staff at each crèche to be fully qualified before they will consider registration. This is fully understandable but is a problem in Masiphumelele where many crèches are run by well-meaning but unqualified mothers from the community.
To address this Masicorp has recently started a new initiative to train the teachers at selected crèches. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Unlimited Child NGO with Nadia Lubowski from The Anton Lubowski Educational Trust doing the teacher training. The Unlimited Child directly promotes Early Childhood Development (ECD) by providing educational toys and caregiver training to underprivileged crèches. They have successfully worked with over 300 creches in the Durban area and are now bringing their expertise to the Western Cape. The Anton Lubowski Educational Trust offer courses are aimed at parents and caregivers of young children with an emphasis on developing emotional intelligence and self-discipline, as well as early language and literacy.
Nadia Lubowski and Grant Abernathy from the two partner organisations visited some of the crèches with Masicorp volunteer Sophie Billington and selected five to pilot the programme. With the help of these two very experienced partners an initial pilot programme of twelve sessions began in late November. Another partner, Goodsport, are training the ladies to provide a physical training programme for the children. Masicorp will study the developmental changes in the kids over a year. If the pilot is a success as measured by the children’s developmental assessments in 2014 then Unlimited Child will hopefully agree to train all of the creches and also get the course accredited. The first two sessions have been a huge success and we hope this will be another step towards the formal registration of more of Masiphumelele’s crèches.
Financial circumstances dictate that few children in Masiphumelele receive Christmas presents. It is therefore always wonderful to see presents donated to the community from donors elsewhere in the cape Peninsula, South Africa and even overseas. Thanks to a group of her friends, Masicorp volunteer Sophie Billington was able to deliver a Christmas present to every child in all 21 of Masiphumelele’s unregistered crèches.
A big thank you from Masicorp to Sophie’s mother for sewing together the gift bags, Renee Shearing for filling them and Debby Johnson and Wendy Drummond for all of their help in organising the drop off with their team of volunteers below. The assistance of FISH HOEK SLSC Nippers is also gratefully acknowledged.
Each crèche was visited including Masi Educare where we must also thank Gap year SA for their help in arranging the food for a Christmas party to go with the presents.
And it does not end there as later this week the afterschool club and the mother & toddler group at Masiphumelele library will also be receiving their presents. Thanks so much to everyone in South Africa and Sophie’s friends in the UK that have volunteered their time and funds to make this happen.
On their final day of school the children of Grade R at Ukhanyo Primary School received a special treat courtesy of Sandy Kennedy and the sports models of Ergosport. Ergosport Models is based in Cape Town and represents sport models, celebrities, full time professional athletes and professional stunt artists throughout South Africa. Sandy had contacted Masicorp with a request to hold a Christmas party for the children to celebrate their year end. We were delighted to host them at the school this week.
As well as bringing along many of the their sports models, sandy also arranged for the children to meet local celebrities Tamsyn Lee Brown from Good Hope FM and TV presenter Liezel vd Weesthuizen. On a more serious note, Emma King – the toothfairy from SA Health Blog – was also present to give the children some tips on dental hygiene. That was good advice for the children before they tucked into a plateful of treats including an excellent selection of cup cakes provided by Ergosports model Lee-Ann Sharp.
The children were entertained by several Ergosports models including David Mocke who explained how to paddle across the surface of the ocean. South African free dive champion Hanli Prinsloo then showed them how to move like a fish under the water. There were gasps of awe – from the teachers as well – as she showed them all pictures of a shark. Even more gasps of awe greeted displays by professional parkour, trickers and stuntment Gerry and Kenji, who described themselves as being like spiderman.
Spiderman featured again in a gift pack alongside Barbie and Hello Kitty gift sets, which Sandy kindly brought along as Christmas presents. Each child received a pack as well as a teddy bear which was kindly donated by Lynette Kennedy, owner of Fred I Bear in Johannesburg. Then it was out onto the playground for everyone to enjoy a game of football organised by Dr Ross Tucker assisted by Kevin Pheko and James le Roux, who also kindly donated some of their own school books to Ukhanyo. Those who did not join in the game could be seen being spun around in the air by Tamsyn and triathelete Nina van der Heever who must have been nursing some tired muscles the following day.
Here in South Africa the academic year has come to an end and that means Masicorp’s bursary students have returned home from their various university residences. We took the opportunity to catch up with some of them at the Galley restaurant in Fish Hoek before they began their summer vacation. For many students a summer break in the Eastern Cape beckons, others have summer jobs that have started almost immediately but most will be spending time catching up with family and friends back in Masiphumelele.
There is a tense fortnight for the first years to wait until December 13th when their second semester results are published. Everyone seemed confident that their courses had gone well and given the excellent progress made earlier this year there is every reason to expect more good results. The courses become more difficult as they move into the second year of study so the summer will be an important time to recharge their batteries.
Many of the established students, who are further into their studies were also able to attend, including fine art student Simphiwe whose artwork we recently featured. It was especially pleasing to also catch up with Ziyanda who completed her Biotechnology degree and graduated a year ago. She is now working as a research assistant in the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Located in Belville, it is quite a journey for Ziyanda to undertake with the daily commute by minibus taxi and two trains there and back taking two and half hours each way. That is a measure of the commitment shown not only to complete the course but also to make the best of the opportunity it has offered. She also makes a great role model for the younger students to follow.
The safest place on the neatly manicured rinks of Brisbane’s Merthyr Bowls Club during a FACE fundraiser was next to the jack.
Steve and Kaye Bishop organised a barefoot bowls tournament for Pommie friends visiting Australia for the first Ashes Test in November at The Gabba and for their Australian friends lucky enough not to be working on a Wednesday afternoon.
Most of the 20 participants were novices – which was plain to see as woods veered off in unexpected and unintended directions during the two-hour session.
An hour was allowed for calming drinks afterwards while fines were administered, with Kaye, for example, having to cough up for being the closest to the jack – on a neighbouring rink.
The pain of having pockets and purses emptied was alleviated by a scrumptious barbecue next to a beautiful stretch of the Brisbane River and flaming poincianas.
‘Thanks to everyone for contributing $250 to FACE,’ said Kaye. ‘We charged $10 as a donation to FACE. Then we fined people $1 time for all sorts of misdemeanours, real and imagined.’ The donation with Gift Aid amounts to more than £150.